Apple's walled garden back in antitrust spotlight, this time in UK

From Mike Wuerthele's "UK officially launches investigation over Apple & Google's mobile browser dominance" posted Tuesday by AppleInsider:

As part of its continuing big tech antitrust march, the UK has announced that it is next examining Apple and Google's control over the mobile browser market, with a particular focus on mobile gaming.

On Tuesday, the United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) made the announcement that it will be looking into the mobile browser situation. Specifically, the comment period that started in June 2022 saw a large number of responses from "browser vendors, web developers, and cloud gaming service providers" who said that the control is a problem, is stifling innovation, and adding costs.

"Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google. When the new Digital Markets regime is in place, it's likely to address these sorts of issues," said the interim CMA chief Sarah Cardell. "In the meantime, we are using our existing powers to tackle problems where we can. We plan to investigate whether the concerns we have heard are justified and, if so, identify steps to improve competition and innovation in these sectors."

The announcement is specific that one aspect of the investigation will be cloud gaming. It's not quite clear why the investigation is including that as part of a browser probe, as Apple's gaming restrictions are not in Safari.

My take: Like many such inquiries, this one has an air of cluelessness about it.

8 Comments

  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    They can’t trust browsing through a garden full of webs will lead them to a brick wall trying to find something against Apple.

    2
    November 22, 2022
  2. Steven Philips said:
    What “innovations”? Apple – and I suspect, Google, keep making their systems better so gaming can advance on browsers. Do these people think they can make better browsers? Or do they want to “innovate” by putting porn in their games? Or, gosh darn it, do they want to “innovate” by getting around paying for their use of the improvements Apple and Google provide as well as store fronts?

    3
    November 22, 2022
  3. Daniel Epstein said:
    Well it is a bit restricting if you have to write an app or make your game mobile browser friendly to work. I wonder why they think it isn’t easier. There aren’t many examples they can point to which it is easier. Maybe cheaper. This still sounds like the Epic Spotify crowd bending the ear of regulators for their own benefit.

    4
    November 22, 2022
  4. Neal Guttenberg said:
    Nice springtime garden picture. PED, do you do your own yard work 😉

    1
    November 22, 2022
  5. Michael Goldfeder said:
    So here is the foundation of this allegation in a nutshell: “Many UK businesses and web developers tell us they feel that they are being held back by restrictions set by Apple and Google.” Code speak for: We want to be on the iOS Platform without having to pay!

    2
    November 22, 2022
    • John Konopka said:
      Even a child can understand this. It is like the kid’s book The Little Red Hen. No one wants to help grow the grain or bake the bread but they all want to help eat it.

      1
      November 22, 2022
    • Bart Yee said:
      Exactly! Upvoted and seconded. Mobile gaming can be done (not always equally as well) on Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Razer, and a whole host of Android platforms WITHOUT using a browser, and gigantic numbers of Android and Apple products with a browser. If you use a browser, the game does have to run on it somehow and use its specific languages, coding, and extensions.

      Mobile users (and developers) are quite capable of choosing and using Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Duck Duck Go, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, Brave, etc. as their default browsers.

      Or, astonishingly, since these game developers at so good at coding & using the various mobile software and hardware platforms to their fullest extent, couldn’t they build a GREAT, gaming-centric browser or even mobile gaming hardware platform? It really isn’t that hard, I’d say 10-15 of the largest developers worldwide could easily band together (collusion or cooperation?) and finance, design, engage hardware manufacturers from China or Europe, and get it done. Then they could control the whole thing, either / or.

      I’d say $500 million to $1 billion (am I off a decimal or two?) would be an excellent starting point. For 15 companies, that’s less than $33M-66M each, maybe annually for a few years once it gets going, then they can rake in not only gaming dough, but think of all the data collection and advertising dollars (euros) they’ll make and share, while competing with each other.

      Like I said, easy peasy!! /s 🤦

      1
      November 22, 2022

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